Why the Storm Crow doesn’t (and won’t ever) show sports

A bar that doesn't screen Canucks games? Yes, they do exist

February 29, 2016

By Max Fawcett

If there was a ten commandments for owning and operating a bar, it’s all but certain that “thou shalt play sports on TV whenever possible” would be somewhere near the top of the list. But the Storm Crow has been a proud heretic on that front ever since it opened in 2012, and manager Sean Cranbury says that’s not about to change. “We don’t play sports—not once. I’m hiring a new bar manager, and I was going through some of the fundamentals with him the other day, and he was like, ‘But, if the Canucks are in the playoffs, then….’ Well, then the Canucks are in the playoffs, and people can go to the Shark Club and enjoy their time. We become a safe haven for all the people who just desperately do not want to deal with that nonsense.”

The Storm Crow’s act of heresy is informed by the culture the bar’s owners deliberately set out to create, Cranbury says, but it also happens to be good business sense too. “Often when I say we don’t show sports, people are like, ‘Well, that’s a crazy anomaly. How can you possibly be busy?’ Because everybody else is showing sports. Every other goddamn place!” That said, he doesn’t think it’s an approach that would work for everyone. “It’s so obvious that nobody sees it, I think—the angle that you can do it without sports. But you have to do it well.”

Part of doing it well means not making any exceptions, even when you’re the manager and the baseball team you’ve supported since you were a kid is making its first visit to the playoffs in 20 years. “I was at the Storm Crow hearing about the game [Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, which featured Jose Bautista’s seventh inning home run and the ensuing bat flip heard ‘round the world and quickly became the most iconic moment for a Blue Jays player since Joe Carter’s home run in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series] on my computer, and I just slammed it down at one point, went across the street and watched the eighth and ninth innings of the game—because that’s what I had to do.”

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